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Glenwood Ave. Cobblestone, Clark Bike Lanes Get 49th Ward OK

By Benjamin Woodard | May 6, 2013 10:20am | Updated on May 6, 2013 2:02pm
 Glenwood Avenue cobblestone restoration and Clark Street bike lanes were approved by voters.
2013 Participatory Budgeting Results
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ROGERS PARK — Residents voted on Saturday to approve the $150,000 cobblestone restoration of a portion of Glenwood Avenue as part of the 49th Ward's participatory budgeting election.

Hundreds of residents voted last week and on election day Saturday to allocate nearly $1 million of Ald. Joe Moore's discretionary budget to a series of neighborhood infrastructure projects.

Street improvements got the biggest chunk of money when voters allocated $620,000 to repave nine blocks of roadway and add two blocks of street lights.

Each of this year's 1,427 voters was able to choose four projects.

2013 Participatory Budgeting Election Results:

Urgent sidewalk repairs for $80,000 (864 votes)

Glenwood Avenue cobblestone restoration between Lunt and Farwell avenues for $150,000 (642 votes)

Sheridan Road engineering study for $30,000 (579 votes)

Touhy Park cherry trees and water fountain for $29,800 (578)

Clark Street bike lanes between Howard and Albion avenues for $75,000 (527)

Runners Up:

Bus stop benches for $36,750 (448 votes)

Pottawattomie Park water feature for $75,000 (439 votes)

Mary Margaret Langdon Park turf soccer field for $100,000 (323 votes)

Metra station shelter for $125,000 (276 votes)

Willye White Park mosaic art for $60,000 (256 votes)

Lazarus Playlot bobble toy for $10,000 (163 votes)

In Chicago, each alderman is given $1.3 million a year to spend as he or she wishes on infrastructure projects, which can range from street paving to public art installations.

In 2009, Moore became the first politician in the United States to allow residents to vote where discretionary money should be spent. This year, the practice spread to three other wards.

Neighborhood activists, however, contend that the process meant to empower minorities and low-income residents has mainly benefited the wealthy, whites and the better-educated.

Although previous attempts to survey voters had been incomplete, this year a questionnaire was attached to each ballot to gather information about voters' incomes, ethnicities and level of education.